State prisoners had served an average of 2.6 years behind bars when they were released in 2016, the U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics reports.
More than seven in 10 violent offenders released that year had spent less than five years in state prisons, the agency reported.
BJS found that released prisoners in 2016 had served an average of 46 percent of their maximum sentence length.
The percentage of their full sentence that inmates actually served varied considerably by offense type. If they were serving time for rape or sexual assault, inmates served
an average of 62 percent of their sentence.
The figure was only 38 percent of their maximum time if the charge was drug possession.
If the charge was murder or non-negligent, the average time served was 15 years.
Ninety-six percent of violent offenders released in 2016, including 70 percent of those sentenced for murder or non-negligent manslaughter, served less than 20 years before release, BJS said.
About one in five people released in 2016 after being sentenced for rape or sexual assault served 10 or more years before initial release.
Most offenders (59 percent) released from state prison in 2016 after serving time for drug possession served less than one year.
The report was written by BJS statistician Danielle Kaeble.